It was a pleasure to visit staff and year 10 pupils at St John Plessington last Friday. As ever, it was not entirely surprising to see how engaged and enthusiastic the pupils are about issues that affect them in the local area, and we covered a number of issues ranging from the range of retailers in Birkenhead Market to the financial situation in Europe.
It’s was an exceptionally busy week in Parliament last week as George Osborne delivered the first Tory only budget since 1996 to the House of Commons.
The Chancellor claimed that the Conservative budget was for working people but I am afraid that it is anything but what he has claimed. Over 3 million working people will be hit by the cuts to tax credits.
With Wirral residents already seeing their local Authority budgets slashed because of government cuts this budget doesn’t offer enough to help working people in Wirral.
One of the headlines from the budget was the announcement of a national living wage. but the Government has not really announced a Living Wage, it's a bit of a con. This is because at the same time they are cutting working families' tax credits, which is like reverse-tax to take account of the extra costs of having children. Plus, the new rate when it’s introduced will be lower than the Living Wage this year.
The measures in the budget have created a scenario of giving with one hand and taking with the other and have proven that the Chancellor is - whatever the spin - not on the side of ordinary working people.
A Labour budget would have put working people first with tax cuts focussed on low and middle incomes, not cutting the tax credits working people rely on.
We would also support firms to become more productive with delivery of infrastructure, not re-announcements of future projects, and high quality training and apprenticeships, not a rebadging of existing qualifications.
Tackling the root causes of welfare spending – low pay and high housing costs is needed to bring down government spending in a sustainable way but the Chancellor is making working people worse off. It's not the right plan for our country.
By Alison McGovern MP
For Wirral News